How to feed the world

This week Foresight – the British Government’s futures think tank – published a report entitled  “Global Food and Farming Futures” which examines how a rapidly expanding global population can be fed in a healthy and sustainable way.

The report finds that the existing food system is failing half of the people on Earth, with 1 billion going hungry, 1 billion lacking crucial vitamins and minerals from their diet, and 1 billion “substantially overconsuming” leading to obesity epidemics.  Stresses on the food system are reflected in price spikes, but the cost of food will rise sharply in coming decades which will increase the risk of conflict and migration. The challenge is to feed 2 billion more people by 2050 but with less environmental impact.

No single solution exists, says the report, but it is critical to spread existing knowledge and technology to the developing world to boost yields by “sustainable intensification”.  It is argued that drought- and salt- resistant crops  could be valuable and that genetically modified and even cloned food should not be ruled out. Also dramatically reducing food waste is crucial because 30% of all food produced is never consumed.

You can access the report here.


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